Abebe Bikila Wins Marathon Gold Running Barefoot – Rome 1960 Olympics

Posted on 04 April,2017

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In an incredible race with added personal importance, long distance icon Abebe Bikila wins the marathon event at the Rome 1960 Olympic Games, making the achievement even more impressive by running barefoot.

Abebe Bikila was born in Ethiopia on 7 August 1932, the day of the Los Angeles Olympic marathon. Twenty-eight years later, he entered the marathon at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.

He and his coach, Onni Niskanen, decided that Bikila, who ran barefooted, should make his final move a little more than one kilometre from the finish line. It was at this point that the course passed the obelisk of Axum, a monument that had been plundered from Ethiopia by Italian troops and hauled away to Rome. When Bikila reached the obelisk, he was running even with Rhadi Ben Abdesselem of Morocco. Bikila successfully pulled away and won by 200m.

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